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Achieving a New Level of Performance in a Complex World

The adoption of our daughter, Ruchi, introduced a
new order of complexity into our household. Put aside for the time
being all of the chaos that comes from any adoption or the emotional
dimension of bringing in a new family member. Let’s just look at the
number of relationships in our home and how it grew.

Before Ruchi there were three of us: my wife, Laura, our son, Gabe, and
myself. Here are all the possible relationship combinations:
1. All three of us
2. Seth and Laura
3. Seth and Gabe
4. Laura and Gabe

That’s it. Four.

But, now with Ruchi here is what’s possible:
1. All four of us
2. Ruchi, Seth and Laura
3. Ruchi, Seth and Gabe
4. Ruchi, Laura, and Gabe
5. Seth, Laura, and Gabe
6. Ruchi and Seth
7. Ruchi and Laura
8. Ruchi and Gabe
9. Seth and Laura
10. Seth and Gabe
11. Laura and Gabe

So, adding one more family member introduces seven more relationship
combinations. Imagine what it’s like for a family of twelve! My point
is, adding one more person increases the possibilities by a significant
amount, much more than first appears. This explains why my home life is
a circus (and of course there’s the two dogs!), but what does it have
to do with achieving a new level of performance?

As you seek to master more and more in your life, it is not just a
matter of tacking on one more activity. Eventually you have to get your
arms around the whole system, the system that is your life.

If you are looking to increase your performance in an ever increasing
world of complexity, one way through is to stand back and look at the
whole. There you will see the larger system and the patterns that give
rise to new ways of understanding.

So, next time things feel like there is too much to keep track of, try
taking a big step back and looking at the whole thing. You might be
surprised what you see that will help you hit a new stride, or at least
appreciate the circus 😉

Fools ignore
complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove
it.

– Alan Perlis